All Jackson County schools (all public and private elementary, middle and high schools) transitioned to Remote/Virtual learning starting this Monday. Jackson County has had a critical COVID-19 incident rate (Red Zone Designation) for the past couple of weeks and were already practicing remote learning prior to the new orders from Governor Beshear.
The Cumberland Valley District Health Department reported the 18th COVID-related death in Jackson County last Wednesday. Gov. Beshear said Kentucky set a new single-day record last Thursday with 3,649 COVID-19 cases. Gov. Beshear also reported 112 red zone counties, the state’s highest positivity rate (9.18%) since May and 30 new deaths as he emphasized the need for new restrictions. Kentucky has experienced a 400% increase in positive cases over the past nine weeks. The Cumberland Valley District Health Department also reported the 18th COVID-related death in Jackson County. “As our needs are increasing, more of our front line – our only line – health care workers are getting infected. More and more are in quarantine after a possible exposure, too,” said Gov. Beshear. “So as our need goes up, our capacity and ability to help people goes down. That’s why we’re taking these steps.”
The new requirements impact restaurants; bars; social gatherings; indoor fitness and recreation centers; venues and theaters; professional services; and schools. The Jackson County Public School District issued the following statement: “As provided for and mandated in Governor Andy Beshear’s Executive Order (2020-969), Jackson County Public Schools must continue to suspend Traditional In-Person Instruction and continue with Remote/Virtual Learning for the weeks of November 23rd through November 24, 2020 and November 30th through December 4, 2020. Just a reminder that Thanksgiving Break is November 25th, 26th and 27th. Our District is disappointed that we are not able to offer the Traditional In-Person Learning Option for the upcoming two weeks. We would like to wish everyone a Safe and Happy Thanksgiving Holiday!”
According to Executive Order 2020-969 issued on November 18, 2020:
1. All public and private elementary, middle, and high schools (kindergarten
through grade 12) shall cease in-person instruction and transition to remote or virtual instruction beginning November 23, 2020.
2. All middle and high schools (grades 6 through 12) shall remain in remote or
virtual instruction and not resume in-person instruction prior to January 4, 2021.
3. For the period from December 7, 2020 to January 4, 2020, all elementary
schools (kindergarten through grade 5) may reopen for in-person instruction, provided:
a. The school is not located in a Red Zone County, as provided by the
Kentucky Department for Public Health on the COVID-19 website (available at https://govstatus.egov.com/kycovid19); and
b. The school follows all expectations in the KDE Healthy at School
Guidance on Safety Expectations and Best Practices for Kentucky Schools (available at https://govstatus.egov.com/ky-healthy-at-school).
4. Nothing in this Order shall prohibit schools from providing small group in
person targeted services, as provided in KDE guidance.
5. This Order shall apply to all institutions of public and private elementary and
secondary education, but does not apply to private schools conducted in a home solely for members of that household.
The Kentucky Education Association released a statement praising these steps taken to help save lives in Kentucky. They reported, “Governor Andy Beshear showed that he is the right leader at the right time, willing to make hard decisions for the greater good. This decision will save the lives of students, educators, parents and grandparents. His decision to use his executive authority to close all middle and high schools to in-person learning through January, with the possibility of some elementary schools opening to students again on December 7, is a dramatic step, but certainly, it is a step that will save lives.
By every available measure, the recent growth of coronavirus infections in Kentucky is alarming and presents a clear and present danger to the entire state. Turning this situation around will take each of us – all of us – working together for the collective good. It is a test of our spirits, but it is also a test of our empathy and our humanity.
Every student, every educator, and every parent in Kentucky has had their life turned upside down by the coronavirus. No one wants any of this, but we cannot simply ignore it; it will not magically disappear. The only thing that will change the situation and get our children back in school, back on the playing field, and back to normal is if every single Kentuckian does what is required to protect themselves and their loved ones. Wear a mask; wash your hands; stay home whenever possible; limit non-essential activities; and limit your contact with people outside your household. In the absence of a critical mass of people willing to voluntarily make those sacrifices over the last few months, the Governor had no choice but to act.”